By Gina Martinez
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined concerned College Point residents who are unhappy with a proposed hotel Tuesday afternoon.
Avella and community members denounced the plans to construct a six-story hotel at 14-61 127th St., the former site of a single-story building. The rally comes weeks after Avella wrote three letters to the city Department of Buildings expressing concerns that the hotel, located in an M1-1 zoning district, would be totally inappropriate. In his letters he pointed out that the traffic situation in College Point is already bad due to the narrow streets and there is already over-development in the area.
He said he has yet to receive a sufficient response from DOB, but the agency did agree that turning a one-story building into a six-story hotel should not be considered an “alteration” as the developer originally claimed.
Residents at the rally said the hotel would be totally out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. Avella and community leaders have held multiple meetings with the owner of the property in hopes of coming to an agreement on a better use of the land without success. Avella said at one point the developer agreed to an alternative use for the location but quickly changed his mind and went back to his plans for a hotel at the site.
“How much more can College Point take?” Avella asked. “College Point used to be a quiet community where people lived for generations with industry and manufacturing mixed in. It was a little piece of suburbia in an urban setting. Now due to over-development that has completely changed. Enough is enough, College Point should not be forced to take on any more development. I am calling on the Department of Buildings and the mayor to stop this project.”
Avella said he would meet with the developers at LY128 Realty again to discuss alternative plans but that he is skeptical after he reneged on their original agreement.
Residents pointed out that there is already a hotel within a couple of blocks that they have heard is underperforming. They said those reports raise concerns over the validity of the developer’s claim that a hotel is needed in the area.
“If that hotel isn’t doing well, why would one be successful on a narrow street in an industrial area with a lot of truck traffic?” Avella asked.
Kathryn Cervino, vice president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayer Association, said she is afraid that if another unnecessary hotel is added to the neighborhood, there is potential for it to be converted into a homeless shelter.
“This is happening on a rampant basis and we don’t want to see it here,” she said. “The infrastructure of this community was not built to handle this many people or this type of use. There is already massive construction projects happening where the city is ripping up the streets to put in new sewer and storm water pipes just to handle the load of the current baseline population. This construction will quickly be inadequate.”
Cervino said another hotel in the area would increase traffic, stress infrastructure and strain all city services.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart